Kirsten Larsen is an Honorary Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Her work is concentrated on the complex challenges of sustainability and resilience of food systems, and the design and implementation of responses that also support healthy communities and regional economic development.
Kirsten has broad experience facilitating diverse stakeholders in complex discussions and shaping action for food systems transformation. This has included: designing and facilitating 70 government, research and industry stakeholders through a scenario development process for the Victorian Food Supply Scenarios project; developing a half-day immersive Food Sensitive Urban Planning and Design workshop for local council and community stakeholders (delivered to approximately 10 local councils); issue mapping and co-design workshops for farmers, government and community stakeholders to develop the South East Food Hub; and developing and running customised food systems stakeholder forums.
Kirsten has published extensively across sustainable food systems, including leading numerous local pieces formative to this field, such as Sustainable and Secure Food Systems for Victoria: What do we know? What do we need to know? (2008) and Victorian Food Supply Scenarios: Impacts on Availability of a Nutritious Diet (2011). Her work has included innovative action-research designed to engage local communities in solving food systems problems, such as the development of the South East Food Hub. She has led a range of successful grants across food system health, sustainability, and access, which have been funded by diverse sources including government departments, philanthropy, and research councils.
Kirsten was the Food Systems Research & Partnerships Manager at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute as part of the Foodprint Melbourne project (2015-19). During this time she delivered integrated research and communications outputs, drawing on her networks, knowledge and experience on the topic both inside and outside the academic environment. She also co-authored the project’s major reports and other research outputs.